Eric Young Talks About His WWE Run, Triple H's Health Scare, TNA World Title Reign


Eric Young recently appeared as a guest on the Wrestling Epicenter show for an in-depth interview covering all things pro wrestling.

During the discussion, the former NXT and IMPACT Wrestling star spoke about a number of current pro wrestling topics.

Featured below are some of the highlights.

On joining us 16 years after he first was a guest: “I have a terrible time remembering these types of things. But, I don’t think I’ve ever been interviewed by someone 16 years ago and then again. So, it is a cool thing for me! A cool thing for you, maybe? It feels like two lifetimes ago!”

On his love of hockey: “Hockey has always been a huge part of my life. Anyone that has been around me for more than 10 or 15 minutes knows that. When I was a kid, I wanted to play professional hockey. But, when I was a young teenager, I found out I wasn’t very good at it and realized that really wasn’t a path for me. But, I’ve loved it my whole life. I’ve played it my whole life! I still play today sometimes as often as 3 times a week – More for exercise and conditioning than anything else. But, I love the game. I love the sport of hockey! I love the NHL! I follow it like a lunatic! I watch 200, 300 games a year… Will not miss a single playoff game schedule permitting.”

On hosting a Fantasy Hockey talk show with Michael Meanie: “The Dangle Bet Celly thing came from me loving hockey and enacting on it. Sports are a whole passion in my life. I’ve done a couple of football shows. This will be my third or fourth hockey show. Three of the four with my very good friend from Canada, Chris Meanie, “The Captain”, I call him. Dangle Bet Celly, we were picked up by FTN which is a digital platform but with all the young, upcoming stars within the fantasy space whether it was football, basketball, baseball, or, for us, hockey – All of them were getting hired by FTN! They contacted me about becoming a content creator for hockey. I assume you live in the United States? Well, as you know, hockey is the red-headed step-child of professional sports in the United States. That’s OK! I get it. It is hard to watch if you don’t get it. So, Dangle Bet Celly has been a long time in the making for me. We’ve been doing it all season. But, we just got picked up by Point Set Canada which was a huge sponsorship for us and then picked up to air on Game+ which you were talking about, and also on Fite Network. It is all in the Anthem family which is interesting. It is really cool for me! We’ve created this really cool community. The numbers grow each week. At one point, during Super Bowl weekend, we were the third watched show on the entire network. For a hockey show, that is a monstrous task! That is a monstrous, monstrous accomplishment because not as many people watch it or play fantasy hockey because it is impossible! (laughs) It is chaos!”

On what NHL team he supports: “I grew up a huge Maple Leafs fan and I still am a huge fan. But, I love the Preds (Predators). I could love anywhere in the United States but I choose to live here (in Nashville) because I love it here! I love the Predators organization. I’ve done tons of stuff with the team. I’ve golfed in their Celebrity Golf Tournament, I’ve poorly bowled in their family bowling tournament. I’ve poorly spoken at the prospects camp. I’ve attended training camp. I go to as many games as I can! I’ve led the singing of the National Anthem during a playoff game against the Black Hawks standing at center ice. So, that is my team. But, I am an NHL enthusiast. I’m friends with some of the players. I’m wearing a Carolina Hurricanes tank top right now. I’ve got 50 or 60 of these! I’ve probably got another 40 jerseys. So, you never can tell. But, the Preds? That’s my team!”

On what it meant to win the TNA World Title in 2014: “It wasn’t so much being the champion. It was more the pressure and the responsibility of a company, obviously a huge wrestling company that airs all over the world that has millions of people watching it weekly all over the world on television, digitally, through YouTube and social media – You’re the flagship of this show! That is something that I’ve never taken lightly. Anyone that has ever got into professional wrestling that tells you they don’t want to be World Champion is either lying to you or they’re in it for the wrong reasons. Did I ever think I was going to be World Champion being a short fat kid from Southwestern Ontario? (laughs) You know, no! Did I dream about it? Of course! Did I want it? Of course! Did I believe I could do it? Of course! It was definitely a cherry on top. When you look at the lineage, the history of that title and what it means to professional wrestling, to have been the champion, no one can ever take that away from me! And the support of my peers! That feeling coming through the curtain, having everybody clapping for me and cheering for me… It is a drug, man! Put that in my veins!”

On what his goals were when he started wrestling: “I set one goal when I started in professional wrestling and that was to sign a contract so that I could tell people that this is what I do for a living. Before that (signing), I never ever told anyone I was a professional wrestler even though I did it at a high level for six or seven years. I did jobs on the side… I had tons of tryouts with WWE, WWF… I wrestled all over North America and some into Mexico as well.”

On if it was a difficult choice to leave TNA in 2016: “Yeah. But, I felt that where the company was at and where management was at at that time, I had accomplished everything that I could. There was no ceiling left. I had bumped my head up against it and remained next to it. But, there was no breaking through. It was brick, not glass! And, it was not going to get higher. If anything, it was going to get lower and lower. And now, looking back, I feel I was right. It (TNA) fell on some very lean times as the fans and people who worked there are well aware of.”

On going to WWE: “As a child, I always wanted to work for WWE, WWF. TNA didn’t exist back then. Obviously, when it began in 2002, I was very interested in going there (TNA) and when I got there in 2004, 2005, the roster was loaded with all these mega talented people, everyone was motivated, and wanting to be part of that underdog kind of thing and being a part of something that was growing was very appealing. But, I felt like it was time to take a swing (in 2016) and try something different.”

On if he enjoyed his WWE run: “I don’t regret it. I enjoyed almost my entire time there. My NXT time was very special to me. I loved working with Triple H. He and I became very close. A lot of what you saw with SANITY was my ideas and his ideas. It was a very close collaboration. We grew SANITY into one of the top acts in the company. Tag Team of the Year, Match of the Year. We were a huge part of every show we were on! We were on every Takeover. I’m very proud of that.”

On his main roster WWE run: “Everyone knows what happened main roster side. I’m not the first person they missed on – I’m not the last. There is no hard feelings over it. I’m not bitter! I told Vince McMahon this to his face – “If you can’t find 5 minutes for me to do something, then you’ve failed!” And, I would say it to his face again. It is nothing personal. He’s always treated me kindly. He always made time to listen to me when I pitched ideas and he was complimentary to me early on. Somewhere, he was busy producing a billion dollar television show and he decided I wasn’t someone he was interested in so we went our separate ways. But, I have no hard feelings. He’s a genius! Wrestling exists today because of his ruthless approach saying pro wrestling can be mainstream and it is. I wouldn’t be sitting in this nice home in Nashville and be enjoying this great life unless it was for his persistence, his vision, and his promoting and belief that pro wrestling can be a mainstream product.”

On the belief, Chris Harris supported, WWE didn’t like talent that established themselves in TNA: “Well, going into NXT, I think it was the reason I was hired. I might not have had 2 million Instagram followers but if you were a fan and consumed professional wrestling, you knew who Eric Young was. They were going through a period where NXT was growing and they needed people who could carry the load. The PC was full of young, inexperienced talent… You can’t teach experience! You don’t know what you don’t know until you do it. For me, I couldn’t name another wrestler who has seen the card from every angle I’ve seen it from… I’ve done everything and done it at a high level. I’m not the best wrestler, the best talker, have the best body, or the best athlete. But, I’m very, very good at all of those things. I’ve been the opening show match, I’ve been the popcorn match, I’ve been the main event, I’ve been a bad guy, a good guy… I was wrestling women before it was even a thing! My experience is second to none. I’m sure if we sat down and really thought about it, we could come up with a few names. But, off the top of my head, I can’t think of anyone who has done things as different as what I’ve done. Triple H saw that. I had talked to him for years before about coming over to work. It didn’t work out. But, it finally did. And, I’m still friends with him (Triple H) to this day. I talk to him quite regularly.” He continues, “But, on what Chris (Harris) said, I think it just depended on the talent. AJ Styles is a generational talent. No one is going to watch AJ Styles and see what he does and not realize that he’s great. As I’ve pointed out, I’m not the first person he (Vince McMahon) missed on and I won’t be the last – I point out Kenny Omega who is the best physical performer this business has seen in the past ten or twelve years – He didn’t last six months. It is a huge machine and you’re just a cog in the wheel. Everyone is replaceable. They replaced The Rock, they replaced Hulk Hogan. They’re a billion dollar industry and they’re not concerned about you or your opinions or any of that shit.”

On Triple H’s recent health scare: “He’s old school, man. He won’t talk about it. He says, “I’m fine.” I’m sure he’s doing fine. It would be cool for him to get back in the mix of it again.”

On returning to TNA, now Impact Wrestling, at Slammiversary 2020: “It is a completely different company! They’re still using the lineage of the titles because they are linked but the reality is, there is almost no one that is there now that was there when I left. It is owned by different people. It is ran by different people. It is on a different television station. There are a few people that are there and thank God – Scott D’Amore, Eric Tompkins, David Sahadi. Those are three people that were there – Not Scott, when I left. Without them and their vision, there might not be an Impact for me to go to. Guys like Eddie Edwards and Sami Callihan, they were carrying the load when no one was watching it and nobody was talking about it. This company still exists because of those guys.”

On the growth of the company: “It has grown since I’ve been back, almost doubled in size! Numbers wise, sponsorship wise, reach wise. We’re seen in 60 or 70 countries around the world now. At one point, Impact almost didn’t exist. That is something to be proud of and a point of pride for me as well. Returning at Slammiversary? In a way, coming home. But, it is a whole other kettle of fish!”

On facing the Briscoes Saturday night at Impact Wrestling Under Siege: “Phenomenal talents. I’ve never really crossed paths with them much which is odd in such a small world. I’ve gotten to know them, talked to them online here and there. But, we’ve never worked together until now. They are synonymous with tag team wrestling over the past 10 years and are considered the best or one of the best and most professional tag teams. He said it in his promo, “We’re a magnetic force for championships!” You can’t disagree with him! (laughs) Just a unique style, a unique way of speaking and moving. It is exciting! Whether it be me and Joe (Doring), me and Cody, or Joe and Cody… It is a really cool element having the Freebirds rule or the New Day rule since many of the younger fans don’t know who the Freebirds are.”

On if Impact might involve itself with the Forbidden Door PPV since W. Morrissey and Deonna Purrazzo recently worked AEW: “That is the thing about the Forbidden Door, man. It never closes. I think it should be called the Forbidden Opening! The Forbidden Portal! Doors close, but I think that what they (Impact) did with Tony and AEW last year was really interesting and there are just so many more interesting stories that can be told, so many matches to be exploited. There is just no reason to shut a door or a portal when you have companies all willing to work with each other!”

On expectations for Slammiversary on the company’s 20 year Birthday on June 19th: “It is such a cool thing that it is happening on the same day that it became a thing. I’m hoping they can get Jeff (Jarrett) involved somehow. I know there is a strained relationship there. He and Scott (D’Amore) are still friendly. Or, maybe have Dixie (Carter) appear. She is a very kind lady and had this company really rolling at one point.”

Check out the complete interview via the YouTube player embedded below, or by visiting WrestlingEpicenter.com.